A land of martyrs, a melting pot of cultures and traditions, and home to many wonderful monuments-a few sobriquets that can define Punjab, a state cuddled to the west of India. Various aspects of this kaleidoscopic land are manifested in the form of its multitude religious points, folk-culture, and its savory dishes.
Welcome to the land of five rivers that embraces you with its general disposition of conviviality and its famous phrase “Jee Aaya Nu” (Welcome).
The influence of Mughal architecture is clearly visible on plenty of monuments and palaces of Punjab:
Aam Khas Bagh:
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Akbar, the great Mughal ruler and an equally great patron of art and architecture, was responsible for the construction of this lovely garden. Built to be used both by common people and the royal emperors, this garden nestled several lavish palaces.
You can still see the remains of a Sarad Khana, a place meant for air-conditioning purposes. Sheesh Mahal, another fascinating building was constructed by Jehangir, son of Akbar. You can have the glimpse of its domes, which are embellished by glazed tiles.
This splendid inn was used to offer its visitors a reprieve from their cumbersome journeys. Built originally with magnificence, the sarai has lost its grandeur with the passage of time, yet, you can still adore its imposing gateways and well-decorative rooms.
Another fascinating place for history and architect enthusiasts is Noor Mahal, a palace built by Noor Jahan, the wife of emperor Jehangir. A perfect example of oriental architecture, this monument is now under the control of ASI (Archaeological Survey of India).
Places of Religious Importance:
Sikhism, a religion reflecting the identity of Punjab at its best, is practiced by the majority of denizens and is manifested in the form of gurudwaras. Quintessential of Punjab’s ethnic culture, these gurudwaras are held in high esteem by the worshippers.
In addition to being the epitome of the architectural brilliance, Golden Temple at Amritsar truly reflects the soul of Sikhism. Also called Harminder Sahib, this religious hub was erected by the collaborate efforts of Guru Ram Das and Guru Arjun Singh. A sacred dwelling to Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of Sikhs, the interiors of this gurudwara are accessible by means of four gates. On gaining entry inside, you will be able to have the glimpse of many sacred shrines, memorial plaques, and three sacred trees (each signifying a guru). Look for the exquisite gilding and fantastic marble works that embellish this structure. The place is home to several celebrations and special occasions like Baisakhi, Diwali, and Guru Nanak Jayanti.
Dera Baba Nanak:
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Located within the district Gurdaspur, Dera Baba Nanak is a place of utmost religious importance to Sikhs. Named after Baba Nanak Dev ji, this historical town is home to several gurudwaras as well as temples.
Tarn Taran Sahib:
Known for its spacious sarovar (pond), Tarn Taran is frequented by a large number of pilgrims, specially on the occasion of New Moon. Situated near Golden temple, this structure came into existence by the efforts of Arjun Dev, the fifth guru of Sikhs.
Among the other gurudwaras that you can make a part of tour to Punjab are Fatehgarh Sahib, Kiratpur Sahib, Karamsar Rara Sahib, and Parivar Vichora.
Gardens of Punjab
Illustrating the architectural work at its best, the gardens of Punjab are also important from historical point of view:
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This exquisite summer palace served as leisure retreat to Raja Ranjit Singh, a mighty Sikh ruler. Known for its excellent design that provides air conditioning, Ram Bagh now serves as a museum and houses Mughal weaponry, sculptures, and an imitation of Kohinoor diamond.
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A testimonial to one of the most tragic incidents that ever took place in the history Punjab, Jallianwala Bagh is a tribute to thousand of innocent lives that perished on the fateful day of April 13, 1919. It was on this day that General Dyer ordered his troops to fire at a peaceful congregation of about 20000 people. The brutality with which they were killed in frantic efforts to save their lives is unparallel in India’s struggle for independence.
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Renowned for its myriad sculptures carved from ceramics, bangles, bottles, and other scrap, Rock garden is one of its kind and is sprawled over 160000 square meters. There are numerous waterfalls within its precincts of this enchantingly beautiful place. Some of the other gardens that can be part of your trip to Punjab are Shalimar Garden, Bara Dari, and Bansar Garden, to name a few.
Nature At Its Best
This man-made lake resting in Shivalik Hills was created by the chief architect of Chandigarh, namely, Le Corbusier. Come here for having a leisure stroll in morning or evening; relax midst charming beauty of this lake which is also a home to several species of avifauna.
Constructed for irrigational purposes, Kanji is well known for a plentitude of flora as well as fauna species. The marine species that are known to dwell over this wetland include catla catla, labeo rohita, cythus striatus and many more. There is a lot for bird watchers as they are at the liberty to see many exotic species like common teal, mallard, wigeon, and pochard.
If you are bitten by history bug, go for Indus valley excavations at Ropar. The site throws light upon Harappan civilization that existed near Indus River. Enjoy knowing about the nuances that identified the culture and its various aspects.
Other Places of Interest
Devi Talab and Durgiana Mandir are the famous Hindu pilgrimages while Rauza Sharif at Sirhind is visited by a number of Muslim devotees. Punjab is also famous for its sports tourism; the sports festival at Kila Raipur is the venue of many rural sports and is organized in the February each year. You can also be the spectator of retreat ceremony that takes place at Wagah Border, a demarcation between India and Pakistan. Punjabis are known for their hospitality and warm nature; allow you to be pampered by their geniality.